I’m Bringing SexyBack?

September 26, 2007 at 7:02 pm 1 comment

Doug Hudgeon over at the Vendor Management blog posted a fun entry the other day, “Is Your Spouse Too Hot?,” in which he compared the selection of a long-term supplier with the selection of a long-term personal partner.   His premise is that “each person has a base attractiveness requirement that, once met, permitted selection on other characteristics such as sense of humour, confidence, or skill at dancing the Macarena.”  He speculates that in supplier selection, once a baseline acceptable price is determined among a pool of suppliers, the selection criteria can move to other factors.    

If only I had understood this when I was dating!  Sure on occasion, my buddies and I rated women we watched from across the room.   But the scale was one dimensional — attractiveness.   When I finally did select a long-term partner, it was based on a complex equation of variables just as Doug speculates.   (Just in case she’s reading this, I’ll acknowledge:   Yes dear, you ARE too hot for me!) 

But I’ll take Doug’s analogy one step farther.   A lasting relationship requires changing and adjusting to change.   That’s as true between me and my spouse as between suppliers and buyers.   Over time, what you need from your partner changes, and what you can give your partner changes as well.   With your partner, those changes often can be assessed continually and implemented slowly.  

With your suppliers, you need to be more direct.  I think of times in business when I needed something different from my long-term suppliers, but I didn’t take the time to clearly articulate what had changed in my business.   I just expected them to know.   Then we found ourselves miles apart down the road.   Other times, I moved into a new role and my old supplier started working with someone who had no context of the relationship or the “real” requirements that had slowly evolved over time, but weren’t openly stated.   They couldn’t connect.  Those are times when both sides lost.     

Obviously, a better way to handle that would have been to take the time to discuss what was working and what was changing in my business/supplier relationship and to document changes.   I’m not talking about one of those artificial, “let’s get together, plan the year, and then go to a nice dinner” meetings.   But a true discussion — followed by documentation.   

The documentation is key.   And with the myriad of technical options available, there is no excuse not to leverage shared documentation.   Vendormate VISION offers document sharing and storage as a feature.  Yet, we find only a few clients using it.   I thought perhaps this was endemic just to our healthcare vertical.  But I’ve talked to friends of mine in other businesses with document storage or content management systems of one kind or another, and to a one, they agree that this feature doesn’t get the emphasis it deserves.   There may be an initial spurt of usage, but it dies off quickly.  

I think it’s a matter of perspective.   Documenting your expectations — about ethical behavior, conflicts of interest, access, contract terms, or whatever — doesn’t mean you don’t trust them.   Formal documentation is like a pre-nup.   It doesn’t mean I don’t love you.   It means I want us to be clear and honest with each other about what to expect.  

Now, go give your supplier a hug.  

Entry filed under: Know Your Vendor, vendor management.

Road Warriors Who Drives the Vendor Management Bus?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Idetrorce  |  December 16, 2007 at 5:32 am

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you


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